It’s a Jungle Out There

This isn’t the post I planned to write, but I think it needs to be written, both for the people like me with small businesses trying to make things work, and for our potential customers.

Just as I was going to bed last night I had a message from a fellow Etsy member, for which I am so grateful.  It was to alert me to the fact that one of my patterns was for sale via a European site similar to Etsy.  The person who got in touch had found one of her own items for sale in the shop, and spotted my Mini Mice pattern.

The shop had about 14 patterns for sale, and presumably they had all been similarly ‘shoplifted’ from Etsy, Folksy or similar, assembled together for the benefit of this unscrupulous person.  I hate to think that person is a customer of mine, but he/she would have to have access to the original pattern, perhaps borrowed from a friend?  Who knows…

But not only did they help themselves to my pattern, they also copied all my photos from the Etsy listing, and copied and pasted the description too.  Completely shameless!

It’s theft…

It was quite peculiar finding a picture with my eggcup on my tablecloth on a completely strange site!

mini mouse Planet Penny - Etsy

I have emailed the shopping site with this information and await their response.  I’ve also sent a message to the…..the…words fail me!.. PERSON who perpetrated the crime.  I don’t expect a reply to that however!

This is so unfair.  I don’t mean to me personally, but to everyone who has beavered away creating something unique, who is trying to make a small business pay it’s way, trying to realise the dream of making a living from their own endeavours.  It’s only been possible since the advent of the internet and it’s been an amazing opportunity for so many people.  Unfortunately it’s also created many opportunities for underhand, dishonest people to coast along on the backs of a lot of hard working makers and crafters.

I’m not sure what can be done to protect our work.  Etsy shows a warning every time an item is listed…

By adding files to this listing, you guarantee that you have rights to the content. Etsy may remove content per our Copyright and IP Policy, at which point buyers may not be able to access purchased files. See our Terms for more information.

….so I presume this is similarly stated by other sites, and if they are informed that someone is contravening this one hopes they take action.

And we can look out for each other as my fellow Etsy member did.  We can pass on any information or suspicions which we spot and try and nip these things in the bud.  Whether you are a maker or a buyer, this affects us all.

It has concentrated my mind on the thing I’ve been chuntering about for ages and not doing, adding watermarks to my photos.  I use Photoshop, and although I had made a watermark layer, it was a bit fiddly and I’ve been lazy about it.  Today however I found a handy little You Tube video which made things very much easier.  By turning  the watermark into a preset brush it’s the work of a moment to add it to any photo.  If Photoshop is your thing you can find the video here.

It’s a pity as it doesn’t enhance the image but as I’ve also had pictures turning up without any link on Pinterest I think they are a necessary evil!

Planet Penny Mini Mice - EtsyAs things stand at the moment, the offending shop has been suspended and I don’t want to go down the road of naming and shaming but I think it’s something we should all be aware of, don’t you?

I’ll be back soon with a happier post.  I’ve been beavering away with my Green Man and he’s progressing nicely, I can’t wait to show you!

See you soon…x


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27 thoughts on “It’s a Jungle Out There

  1. Carol

    It is so very sad. Similar things have happened and been highlighted on Instagram. Pure and simple theft. It is no consolation but you are the one with the creativity, you are the one with the ideas, the others are just shadows.
    I try to always credit the designer when I make items from the patterns they have kindly made available and would certainly never claim a design as my own unless it was!
    Carol aka Dansnan Instagram

  2. Penny

    Shameless ! People like that have no conscience, such a pity as you say for those people like you who spend hours and hours coming up with something unique for it to be nicked right in front of you. I hope they get the punishment they deserve. Let justice be done x you definitely did not deserve this Penny x

  3. Mummy Whiskers

    Oh I’m so sorry to hear this has happened to you, there are many dishonest people in this world and unfortunately most of the time they don’t even see that they are doing wrong. I hope justice prevails x

  4. Lorna

    What a terrible thing to happen. I too have been meaning to put a watermark on my photos it is something that I will do right now, thank you for pointing this out to me.

  5. Dottie Lou

    it is completely shameless. It might be worth your while to go ahead and name names to make certain this person is “punished” properly. I love your work and respect your talent so much!!

  6. Penny

    Hi Penny, my daughter is a horse photographer and is now having to put her signarure right across her photos as she found someone had used a photo of hers to win a competition and had some how obliterated it when she had it at the bottom of the photo. Doesnt look so good but does stop theft.

  7. Gillian McM

    It actually sounds like a scam to me — perhaps the person takes orders based on your photos, gets the money, and then doesn’t send the goods – I don’t know. Maybe they don’t actually have your pattern at all. Whatever it is, it’s horrible.

  8. Lilly's Mom

    I’m sorry this happened to you. It really is a jungle out there and you can’t trust people anymore. My daughter has a successful etsy store specializing in a particular item; a couple of people have copied her store completely and without any remorse. Shame on them……

  9. Jocelyn K

    I am so sorry about this! I cannot get my head around other people profiting from another’s hard work in such a fashion – it’s disgusting, rude and selfish – and stealing! They should hang their heads in shame! I have had several similar things happen to me – one I filed a DCMA with the Webstore (which was similar to EBay) and the listings were pulled within the hour. I don’t know why people think that just because something is on the Internet that it is theirs for the taking – how do they sleep at night? I am so glad that the store has been suspended – and I hope they have learned their lesson!

    Do you regularly do an ‘Image Search’ of your photos on the Internet? This is a great way of finding where your photos are on the Internet and is a good way of finding where your work has been copied without permission. If you need more info on how to do an ‘Image Search’, please don’t hesitate to email me – I have an email address on my website on the LH sidebar.

    Sending {{hugs}} of support
    Jocelyn x
    Instead of Ironing Blogspot

  10. Sue

    Ditto to all of the above! I suppose it’s the chance we all take when we offer our work online, but still, how infuriating when it is taken advantage of!

    I have seen, on more than one website, scanned images from books or magazines giving entire patterns away – copyrighted patterns – and there’s not a lot that can be done except to contact the designer or the publisher and hope for the best.

    I am so glad your friend was looking out for you – and thanks for the reminders you’ve given us here.

  11. Christina

    Thank goodness someone had an eye out and let you know. It is a shame that people can be so deceitful and that they feel the need to steal instead of using their own creativity. Hopefully it will be a lesson for them.

  12. Alison

    Morning Penny, nearly left a message last night, but other than sorry it has happened to you I wasn’t sure what else to say. Having read more comments this morning it is not a very pleasant cyber world and such a shame that a few people would ruin things for those who are talented and gifted. I do hope it doesn’t stop you and I guess if you watermark across a picture to keep it purely yours that’s what you have to do, I know another lady who has done that with some of her wares. Hope your grandchild comes soon and give you great joy and smiles.

  13. Amy at love made my home

    This is so sad, there is of course a chance that someone would be inspired by something or have totally separately made something of their own that is similar to another design, but this is obviously blatant theft as they stole your pictures, description and everything. How utterly lazy not to even make up a sample to try and show some pretence of having designed it themselves. I am often inspired by things that I see, but I take that as a starting point for my own idea and would never ever ever claim that anything that I did was mine if it was someone elses, and if I am inspired and then share what I make on my blog I will always give a link and credit to what inspired me, and I never ever ever take anyone else’s photos – actually, I would have no idea how to!! I am so sorry that this has happened to you and that you had to write this post. I truly hope that you get the situation resolved very soon and that it does not stop you from sharing in the future. xx

  14. Laura

    Urgh! It’s awful. And what’s worse is that it’s not the first time I’ve come across this sort of behaviour.
    I am sorry it has happened to you Penny.
    Please don’t stop doing what you do though… for all the bad there are good and we love your work!

  15. Jennifer Hill

    How infuriating for you and shameful of them. I hope to start an Etsy business and so will beware. I’ve heard of people image searching regularly for their own work and a watermark sounds essential. I can’t see that naming & shaming would do any harm, to be honest. Hope you have a better week. Jen

  16. Jean

    Good to get it off your chest, and you will have helped a lot of other makers by posting about it on your blog. Sorry you’ve had to go through it though.
    Jean x

  17. Sue

    Im glad youre putting the watermarks. I often see copied posts of wonderful crochet creations but with no link to the designer. I know these posts arent malicious and only posted in admiration of beautiful work but it would still be nice to trace it back to the owner. Im sorry your paid for patterns have been stolen by that unscrupulous person

  18. Alison Stokes

    Hi Penny, glad to hear that the offending shop was suspended – that’s something. I do think that the person/shop identity should be made known. Most thieves/scammers are not one trick ponies and will repeat offend. I’ve seen it in other industries. Alison

  19. Marigold

    Some folks have no conscience I suppose. They should find better things to do with their time. I’m sorry you had to experience this. I’ll butt them for you!

  20. 54paintings

    Appalling. Makes me realise I need to knuckle down to the watermark thing asap.Thanks Penny and a big supportive virtual hug.Looking forward to seeing the green man.

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